Microsoft readying Hadoop for Windows Azure

David Worthington
May 3, 2010 —  (Page 1 of 2)
Microsoft is preparing to provide Hadoop, a Java software framework for data-intensive distributed applications, for Windows Azure customers.

Hadoop offers a massive data store upon which developers can run map/reduce jobs. It also manages clusters and distributed file systems. Microsoft will provide Hadoop within a "few months," said a Microsoft executive who wished to remain anonymous.

The technology makes it possible for applications to analyze petabytes of both structured and unstructured data. Data is stored in clusters, and applications work on it programmatically.

"They are probably seeing Hadoop adoption trending up, and possibly have some large customers demanding it," said Forrester principal analyst Jeffrey Hammond.

"Microsoft is all about money first; PHP support with IIS and the Web PI initiative were all about numbers and creating platform demand. If Hadoop support helps creates platform demand for Azure, why not support it? Easiest way to lead a parade is to find one and get in front of it."

Microsoft's map/reduce solution, codenamed "Dryad," is still a reference architecture and not a production technology.

Further, AppFabric, a Windows Azure platform for developing composite applications, currently lacks support for data grids. Microsoft has experienced difficulty in porting Velocity, a distributed in-memory application cache platform, to Windows Azure, because Velocity requires administrative privileges to install, the anonymous executive told SD Times.

"Do they feel so 'way behind' that they are rolling out a Java-based product without a .NET-based 'superior' alternative ready to go?" asked Larry O’Brien, a private consultant and author of the "Windows & .NET Watch" column for SD Times. "Perhaps they feel that distributed map/reduce is not really all that important, that they can put Hadoop on the 'check-off box' and it won't be embarrassing that it gives Java developers a capability that .NET developers don't have?"

The Azure platform is not restricted to .NET development. Microsoft partnered with Soyatec to produce the Azure SDK for Java. However, using Hadoop as a data grid solution is a departure from Microsoft's approach to data access.

Related Search Term(s): Azure, Hadoop

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05/03/2010 10:40:29 AM EST

The hadoopdotnet project does not even have anything in its source repository. It should not even be mentioned in the article.

United StatesEric Hauser

05/03/2010 03:07:27 PM EST

Once you've invested in the infrastructure (data centers, automated provisioning, bandwidth, etc., etc.) you need to drive volume. Microsoft has made the investment and wants to drive volume. They will support technologies that attract users and are supportable and scalable. Microsoft also serves developers - they aren't fighting PHP because it isn't .NET, but want to make Azure a great stack for hosting php apps. They want to do the same with Java and Hadoop apps. Since .NET supports IronRuby and IronPython they will continue to make Azure a great environment for these. Part of the plan here is to allow app-devs to build great apps without having to muck around with OS configuration issues. This is in marked difference from Amazon (which is a "cloud colo" if you don't augment it with 3rd party management services) or Google (which is a highly-limited development environment). I giggled a bit about the statement in the article about Velocity's requirement of admin access being a reason why it's not on Azure yet. Here you see the lingering effects of Microsoft's internal divisions duking it out for control and resources. There has always been a "Windows forever and everywhere" camp slowing down the groups that want to be the best platform for apps. Recently, Office itself has started to wean itself from a requirement to own Windows. I don't think it's a response to Linux as much as a response to emerging access devices (phones, tablets, etc.) and a shift to SaaS/Cloud. Whatever the cause, Microsoft seems fully-engaged in making their cloud-based development platform the richest and easiest to use. Nothing like competition to spur innovation!

United StatesDoug Stein

Doug Cutting: Why Hadoop is still No. 1
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